#BWTop50Marketers: Meet India’s Most Influential Marketing Leaders

With nearly 20% of the list comprising women leaders, and sectors such as technology & digital, FMCG, Food & Nutrition & Auto shining through, BW Top 50 Marketers reflects the changing dynamics of the industry

Never before was the role of the ‘marketer’ more central towards achieving a business’ growth objectives. Brand is equal to business value in a world, where technology transforms, and leads, all in its wake. In this perpetually changing landscape, there are few marketing leaders, who beat the odds and kept pushing the envelope in their journey of being truly consumer-centric.

The BW Top 50 Marketers 2021, an initiative supported by BW Businessworld & led by BW Marketing World, tracked not only the overall work done, initiatives undertaken, the always-on avatars and strategies of brands but also the marketing leadership that steered companies towards growth in the year gone. The debut edition, officially launched on February 18, 2021, celebrates the most influential marketing leaders in India.

“Every single name in this ‘BW Top 50 Marketers 2021’ list represents marketing leadership, mentorship, a very substantial amount of work, and a certain innate ability to be agile and forward looking in tough times. The industry needs such thinkers today to gear up constructively for the decade ahead,” comments Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld. 

In the list this year, 10 women leaders have featured. “For me this is a big highlight. On the one hand, it reflects the growth of women leadership in India across companies and functions but at the same time, it does show that there is still room for balance in leadership roles in India. Also, there are women leaders here from tech and liquor sectors reiterating how much the industry has come along,” add Dr Batra. 

Super Women Marketing Leaders

The women marketing leaders in the list comprise names from the FMCG sector such as Sukhleen Aneja, CMO & Marketing Director, RB Hygiene South Asia and Kavita Chaturvedi, Chief Operating Officer, Snacks Business, ITC. Four leaders feature in the list from the technology and the digital-first sectors. These include Deepali Naair, Chief Marketing Officer, IBM India & South Asia; Hitu Chawla, Chief Marketing Officer, Microsoft India; Roshni Das, Marketing Director, Intel India and Sumeet Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, Infoedge India, that operates brands such as Naukri, Shikhsha, Jeevansathi and 99 Acres.

Industry veteran Deepika Warrier, Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo India is also in the list alongside Jasneet Bachal, Chief Marketing Officer, Yes Bank and Shalini Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Titan Eye Wear among others.

Technology, Digital Dominate

Joining the top marketers from IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Infoedge India were some of the most active brands of last year. Making it to the list are Ravi Desai, Director, Brand Marketing, Amazon India & APAC; Atit Mehta, Vice President & Head - Marketing, Think & Learn (Byju's); Karan Shroff, Chief Marketing Officer, Unacademy; Harish Rawat, Sr Vice President, Marketing, Gameskraft and Varun Dubey, Head - Marketing, Ola Electric & Ola Financial.

The FMCG and F&B Power Play 

It came as no surprise that the core FMCG sector saw many of its leaders feature among top marketers. In addition to RB Hygiene, the marketing leaders from the FMCG sector in the BW Top 50 Marketers’ list included Girish Kalyanaraman, Vice President & Brand Operations Leader, P&G Indian Subcontinent; Koshy George, Chief Marketing Officer, Marico; Shiva Krishnamurthy, Vice President - Foods & Beverages, Hindustan Unilever and Shuvadip Banerjee, Vice President, Marketing Services, ITC. HUL saw leaders such as Ashwath S from Oral Care and Vipul Mathur from Fabric Care being celebrated as well. ITC Foods brought a third celebration too with Ali Harris Shere, Chief Operating Officer (Biscuits & Cakes), ITC Foods featuring in the list.

Without doubt, the food and beverage sector in India was constantly thinking out of the box in the year gone not only to better connect with its consumers but to explore more and several newer ways to making this connect. The leaders featuring this from sector include Anil Viswanathan, Senior Director - Marketing (Chocolates), Insights & Analytics, Mondelez India; Dilen Gandhi, Senior Director & Category Head - Foods, PepsiCo India; Jayen Mehta, Sr General Manager, Planning & Marketing, GCMMF (Amul); Rohit Kapoor, Director - Marketing (India), Perfetti Van Melle; Sudhanshu Nagpal, Associate Director (Biscuits), Mondelez India; Sumit Mathur, Chief Marketing Officer, Kellogg’s; Sunay Bhasin, Chief Marketing Officer, MTR Foods and Vinay Subramanyam, Vice President - Marketing, Britannia Industries.

The Auto & BFSI High

Even as the sectors saw turmoil in 2020, both the BFSI sector in India and the auto sector saw surge either from pent up demands or the sudden need for guidance in future financial planning. Six leaders from the auto sector are in the #BWTop50Marketers 2021. Representing different pockets from the sector, these are Abbey Thomas, Head - Marketing, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India; Santosh Iyer, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India; Shakti Upadhyay, Head - Marketing & PR, Kia Motors India; Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director - Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki; Shubhranshu Singh, Global Head - Brand & Marketing, ‎Royal Enfield and Vivek Srivatsa, Head - Marketing, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors.

From the BFSI sectors, Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Capital; Akash Deep Batra, Head - Marketing (Consumer Banking), DBS Bank and Karthi Kumar Marshan, President & Chief Marketing Officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank, in addition to Yes Bank made it to the list.

Given the action seen in the Consumer Durable, Consumer Electronics, Appliances & Mobile categories, some of the other top marketers include Amit Doshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo India; Deba Ghoshal, Vice President & Head - Marketing, Voltas; Amit Tiwari, Vice President – Marketing, Havells; Sunil Narula, Vice President - Marketing, Panasonic Life Solutions India; and also Siddhant Narayan, Head - Marketing (India), OnePlus from the mobile category. From consumer products category, Sirish Chandrashekar, Marketing Head, Titan too is in the list. Another name that was celebrated for pushing forth despite some fundamental changes in the sector itself was Karan Kumar, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, DLF.

The BW Top 50 Marketers is an annual initiative to celebrate the leadership spirit of change agents in the marketing sector in India.